Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Oracle Express Edition: two strikes, the pitcher steps up to the plate...

The world is divided into two groups of people: those for whom installing Oracle Express edition has been a piece of cake and those for whom it's been a flipping nightmare. Unfortunately I find myself in the latter group.

The first problem was the install spinning when it was trying to create the XE services. CPU meter up to 100% for as long as you like. This turned out to be an artefact of having NLS_LANG set to UK English. All that was required was settting to American_America.WE8ISO8859P1. Ooops! We might have thought that offshoring so much development and support work would have alerted Oracle to globalisation but apparently not.

Having got past that the second problem rears its ugly head. I now have an instance but no data files. Each time the scripts tried to connect to the database the failed with ORA-12557: TNS:protocol adapter not loadable. This is a rara avis; the only note on Metalink relates to Grid controllers, which doesn't seem to fit the case here, and Google likewise draws a blank. Let's hope Mike Townsend comes up with something.

Before you Linuxen start smirking this is not particularly a Windows problem: I was able to install XE on my home laptop first time. My home machine is lower spec but same operating system so it's something about the specific configuration of my work machine that's giving me grief. I am only persevering with this because if I ever need XE, I will need it on my work machine.

Although I must admit I am starting to get very tired with the process: it requires several manual steps - editing the registry, renaming files, two reboots - to clear down XE prior to re-installing. However, I have just discovered that if I re-run the MSI against an untouched install it asks if I want to uninstall XE. I wish I known this earlier: the Installation guide talks about using Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel but that option only appears once the installation has passed the Services point. Of course, the MSI uninstall option may also only be triggered if the prior install got to that point. I'm afraid I lack the strength to de- and re-install just to find out.

So what have I learnt so far? Not a lot. I've spent hours, literally hours, trying to install XE on my work machine with no success. I certainly haven't had time to build an app on my home machine. I do know two things. One is that the MSDE team is not yet quaking in their boots. The other is that I don't think this blog is likely to appear in the 10XE User Experiences any time soon.


Anonymous said...

1. It's a BETA
2. It installed fine on my machine which is pretty good considering it is a beta.

APC said...

>> 2. It installed fine on my machine

Well congratulations. As I said it also installed fine on my home machine.

The point of my article, which I obviously failed to make clear and I apologise for that failure, is that installing XE is either pretty simple or jolly complex. As Oracle are marketing XE as a "deploy and forget" database they need to work on smoothing the troublesome deployments.

For instance, one of the problems I experienced is the Instant Client issue. There's probably a lot of people in their target demographic who have Active State Perl on their desktops, and a lot of them are going to favour a database that works with Perl. I believe that is one bug that Oracle have now fixed.

Anonymous said...

I've hit success on one out of three machines myself. The two machines that failed already had an Oracle 9i Client installed and one of those was running tomcat. In those cases I'm thinking that the install script has problems with the fact that port 8080 is already in use and even though I've selected another port (8081) there still seem to be some conflicts because my TNSListener service won't start (actually starts but immediately stops with no actual error message) and the database homepage won't load. Our company guru says this is because parts of XE are still attempting to run on port 8080 and if I spend enough time hunting through the registry changing the ports for XE it will eventually work.

The one machine that worked was one that did NOT have either Oracle clients or Tomcat installed and therefore was able to take all of the defaults as is and run. Even then the web based admin screen are horribly slow and of course I don't have Toad installed on that machine so have to either use free Toad or the mind-numbingly slow web interface.

Anyways I'd have to agree that Oracle still needs help on their install scripts. Better than the 9i installer but considering the fact that as soon as one default is changed the installer fails I think they have a lot of room for improvement.